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Animal welfare has become increasingly prominent in recent times, and is increasingly seen as an important social issue in developed countries.

Organisations such as the RSPCA have been guardians of animal welfare for a very long time. Veterinarians and others involved with animals in their daily work are commonly responsible for animal welfare (not just curing illness). This may involve participating as key members of ethics committees supervising animal use in research, or in other committees/organisations involved with animal welfare.

Local government is normally responsible for the control of pets and other domestic animals. Laws can vary from one municipality to the next; but they usually control what animals can be kept, how they can be kept, and where they can be kept/taken.
Large animals, for example, such as horses, may not be allowed to be kept on small residential properties. In some places, the movement of cats and dogs may be restricted or prohibited.

In most developed countries, there are many laws that govern the treatment of animals, both domestic and wild. These may cover various things such as:
-Procurement of animals (eg. operation of pet shops, stock markets, etc)
-Keeping or trading in wildlife and domestic animals
-Exporting or importing animals
-Quarantine and or destruction on diseased animals

Various well organised breeding schemes exist, which control the pedigree of domesticated animals; maintaining records of parentage, and maintaining a system to verify the blood line.

Many people have a serious problem with pets when they decide to take a holiday.
When this happens, pets are often neglected or abandoned.
Apart from being irresponsible and cruel, this treatment of an animal may be illegal.

Options include....
*Placing an animal in a commercial care facility such as a boarding kennels or cattery.
*Getting someone in to house sit & look after the animal.
*Ruminants may be put under agistment etc. -but may still need to be checked.

To remove an animal from its "home" may be disorienting, and may cause stress. Often house pets can "fret", leading to abnormal behaviour (including abstaining from eating).

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